During the late 1800’s America was starting to wear down. Our country was taking a nosedive. Corruption had seeped into most of the government. The ideas and equality that Lincoln had fought for were well nigh forgotten Large corporations would smash the “common” people and keep them from raising themselves back up. Our country was in ruins. Yet in spite of all this destruction, one person with a tremendous fighting will was able to turn it completely around. It turns out, all that was needed to bring this country back was a leader that cared for more than just himself.
And this leader would present himself as Theodore Roosevelt, the great lion in the white house. But in order to truly see and understand this leader and how he became such a great man, we must look at his past life . But when we do this and we look at him as a child, it is hard to picture him as the great leader he became. His early childhood years were not much to brag about. In fact, there were some things that would be considered less than average. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was born in 1858, October 27. When he was born he was considered a weak baby, and it was wondered if he would survive childhood.
One of the major problems, and what plagued him for most of his life, was that he had bronchial asthma. He would have a tremendous amount of trouble breathing, and many nights it seemed like he might not make it till the morning. But one of the things that brought him through was his parents. His parents would stick with him if he had any problem. Whenever he had trouble breathing his parents would be right there helping him and doing anything from giving him a cigar to smoke to taking him for a jolting carriage ride. Even if their treatment wasn’t the best Theodore never complained and only had compliments for his parents.
Just them trying to be kind helped him through his early years. As I have stated above, Theodore’s parents were a major influence in his life and one that helped shape him into the man he became. His parents were Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and Martha Bulloch Roosevelt. They both contributed equal amounts of effort and time into their children. The Sr. Theodore was a large, strong man with an iron will and a deep love for his family and his country. He took pride in his history and became a great hero in the eyes of his children. He understood the need to invest much of his time into his children.
In fact he was so great that when talking about him, the Jr. Teddy said “He was the best man I ever knew,” but as well as, “He was the only man of whom I was ever afraid of. ” In fact the junior Theodore was the Sr’s favorite child. One of the things the Sr. invested into his children was his way of life. He taught them that hard work was one of the only ways to get along in life, and that cowardice and deceit were never acceptable. His punishments were so tough that it was scarce that a Roosevelt child repeated an offense.
Another thing the Sr. anted out of his children was a strong and healthy body. He wanted to grow his boys, especially the young Theodore, into strong adults and even went so far as to build a gymnasium on the second floor of their house. He wanted the best childhood for his children and didn’t spare a cost for them. Teddy’s mother, Martha (or Mittie), on the opposite side was just as fragile and sick as her husband was tough and well. She would have constant headaches and stomachaches that would keep her down for weeks. Most of her duties were left to a very willing husband.
Yet in spite of all this, she made sure to have time for her children and to take care of them. She was very playful with them and loved them deeply. Just like her husband Mittie was extremely political, except she was on the opposite side. While her husband was on the Union side and hoped for its success, she would be hoping on thee confederates. She would teach her children of her family’s noble and past telling them stories about members of her families brave acts. But in spite of being mostly taught by his mother, Teddy took the Sr. ‘s view on the civil war and politics.
Aside from that, Theodore deeply loved his mother and always thought of her as, “The sweetest little mother that ever lived. ” As a young boy Teddy took to many things. Aside from his parents Teddy had an immense love for the well being and success of his country. He had inherited his fathers patriotic spirit and he did not want to see his country destroyed. A great pastime he enjoyed was writing. As a boy writing was no problem for him and he actually found pleasure in it. Although he would be known for this, it helped him along many times in his life. But along with writing Teddy loved to read.
It would be hard to see him without standing stork-like with a book in hand. One of his major internists was history. He would never get tired of learning from history and when he became president, his knowledge of history helped his decisions. But most importantly, he had an immense love for wildlife and life science. He ran a regular zoo in his bedroom. Sometimes the maids would be too scared and would refuse to enter his bedroom. He could never get enough of learning about animals. And this is what he first set off on becoming, to be as great as John James Audubon.
When Theodore turned 16 he decided that he would be the child in the family that sought to get an better education. He was the only one that decided to go to college. For this he aimed for one of the best and he chose Harvard University. For the young boy this was no trouble. He excelled at all his studies and passed everything with great success When preparing for Harvard, he passed his three year courses in two years. After that he easily breezed through his entrance exams and entered his first year of college without much trouble. At college Theodore became very popular.
He was very outgoing, competitive, and enthusiastic person. He joined the elite clubs and other rich societies. He rather enjoyed his years of college until the college underwent some changes. One of these changes was a change in the science curriculum Theodore was studying. They changed it from mainly focusing on natural history to laboratory science. Theodore hated the indoors and the microscopes, yet he went along with it and finally graduated. It was also hear that he grew to love Alice Hathaway Lee. After he graduated he became engaged to her. And on his twenty-second birthday they were married.
After this he tried out law school. But it didn’t interest him that much and he decided to try for another field. Instead he decided he would become something that could use his immense energy and power. He would become a politician. One of the first things he noticed when starting out, was how much businesses and politicians worked together. He saw how much corporations would bribe politicians to approve or not approve a certain bill. Theodore didn’t agree with this and wanted to see what he could do about it. The first position he held was in the democratic assembly.
But for him, it wasn’t enough to get something done. He saw the amount of corruption there was in the country, how even judges could do things for their own selfish desires and get away clean with it. He knew that change was needed, but how was he going to do it. One of the first steps he took was when he was appointed chairman of a committee to investigate corruption in New York. He rarely stopped working and tried as hard as he could to get reform bills passed. Things seemed to be going well, until he learned both his wife and his mother were desperately ill.
They both died within the month of February After this shattering problem, Theodore plunged even further into politics He never tired and always tried to find a way to better the state. After all this work, most people would think they had had enough and would settle into a quiet job, but not Teddy This time he wanted to try out the military. On April 19, 1897 he was appointed assistant secretary of the navy. This would start his interest in military power. He pushed for a larger navy and wanted better and more ships created. But the government turned a deaf ear to him and didn’t listen to him.
But that never stopped the old bulldog, and pushed harder than ever. Finally America entered the Spanish-American war and the government started granting Theodore’s requests for a larger navy. After feeling this success, Teddy joined the military and became a captain. With his squadron of “Rough Riders” Teddy became a war hero. He was always way ahead of the others, leading charge. Never worried about danger, he always showed bravery and courage that instilled hope in his fellows and fear in his enemies. He would lead his men up a hill, never bothering of the bullets whizzing around him.
It was this attitude that helped America win the war so quickly. After his adventures, Theodore went back to politics. He started a near impossible task of becoming the governor of New York. Although it was the most democratic state, he somehow got elected and started majorly reforming New York. He would not rest until New York was the best state in the country. But the problem was he was interfering with Thomas C. Platt. He wasn’t taking orders from him, and Platt didn’t agree to that. So to get rid of him he decided make a great tactical move. In what he cloaked as a benefit, he nominated Theodore for vice-president.